"Aeolian Ride, the world's only inflatable bike ride" is how it promotes itself. It's all about a bunch of cyclists in big ballooning oversized white jackets -looking something like sailing ships, meringues, or tiny, fast-moving clouds - and whooping as they ride through the streets.
Aeolian Ride is an event that happens in many cities throughout the world, and on Saturday, May 16, it was Tokyo's turn.
The day was overcast, but not overly gloomy, cool, and dry. About forty cyclists showed up at 3.15pm at Tokyo's Yoyogi Park, about thirty of whom donned the distinctive inflatable suit that is the Aeolian Ride trademark. I enrolled too late for a suit, but was fortunate enough to be given one by someone halfway through the 90-minute ride that took the group through the Yoyogi, Shibuya, and Aoyama districts of Tokyo.
In spite of the occasional nuisance it created for motorists, there was very little road irritation. Even in seen-it-all-before Tokyo, the bulging white cyclists and their whoops stole the whole street's attention wherever they passed, gathering smiles or, at worst, benign puzzlement.
Today's Aeolian Ride was organized the by creator of the whole idea, Jessica Findley. She got the idea a few years ago, and got the first Ride off the ground four years ago, in 2005.
We ended up at the Square Hedges bar in Meguro - a very atmospheric space that provided a warm, relaxing end to a heady day.
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009